In Which I Recommend Some Graphic Novels

Hey, so you like my books! I’m so happy, thank you!! "I've read this a couple of times...what else you got?"

If you enjoyed Smile, Drama, or my Baby-sitters Club graphic novels, here are some suggestions for graphic novels and comics to read next.

The best way to get a hold of most of these titles is to ask your favorite local bookstore or comic shop to order them for you. You can also buy them via online retailers like Amazon and And you can always request them at your local library!

For Ages 8 and Up:

My webcomics!

Hey, maybe you haven't read them yet! I've got a whole pile of short-story comics right here on my website. Some of these are over a decade old; some of them are newer. Many of them were originally published in my minicomic series, Take-Out, and some were created for other web or print venues.

Astronaut Academy

By Dave Roman

Character-driven stories about kids who go to school on a space station. Really fun if you like anime, manga, video games, word play, and space ninjas!


By Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

She may be a mouse, but she has many of the problems kids face in their regular lives: homework, a messy locker, bullies at school. Babymouse also has a massive imagination, which helps her overcome!

Lunch Lady

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

A school cafeteria lunch lady who is also a superhero! All of her tools and gadgets are made from kitchen tools and common household objects.

Zita the Spacegirl

By Ben Hatke

An adventure comic with a big heart, beautifully illustrated.


By Kiyohiko Azuma

My favorite manga of all time. Hilarious, simple, and some of the best comic timing I’ve ever seen.

Giants Beware

By Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

A girl who wants to fight monsters, surrounded by a town of medieval characters. Claudette and her friends make a winning team.

Ameila Rules!

By Jimmy Gownley

Amelia and her mom move to a new town, and this series follows the adventures of Amerlia and her new friends. A fourth-grade lens on real life.


By Jeff Smith

An absolute classic. Epic story, funny characters, surprising depth, jaw-dropping artwork.


By Kazu Kibuishi

Kazu is bringing an animated, Miyazaki-like sensibility to the comics page, and creates an exciting adventure along the way. One of the most gorgeously-drawn comics available today.

The Secret Science Alliance

By Eleanor Davis

If you like jam-packed artwork full of tiny, interesting details, this one’s for you.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword

By Barry Deutsch

An 11-year-old orthodox Jewish girl who wants to fight monsters? Sweet!


By Hope Larson

Summer camp! Secrets! Cute boys! Lightning!

Guinea P.I.G.: Pet Shop Private Eye

By Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue

Super sweet and super funny. Kids who love animals will love this series.

To Dance

By Mark Siegel and Siena Cherson Siegel

An autobiographical graphic novella about a girl who aspires to be a ballerina.

Mal and Chad

By Stephen McCranie

A kid scientist and his talking dog. Love it!

Bird & Squirrel on the Run

By James Burks

A buddy road trip comedy, made even more fun by animal protagonists and solid cartooning.


By Dan Santat

A houseful of pets all aspire to be their superhero owner’s new sidekick. Delightfully drawn.

Calvin and Hobbes, any volume

By Bill Watterson

Probably the best comic strip of all time. Brilliantly drawn and written, with a lot to say about the world we live in. A must.

For Better or For Worse, especially the volumes published between 1983 and 1990

By Lynn Johnston

My very favorite comic strip, which also taught me how engrossing realistic fiction could be. I credit FBorFW with paving the way for the kinds of comics and stories I like to create today, as well as being the biggest influence on my art style.

For Ages 12 and Up:

Friends with Boys

By Faith Erin Hicks

Faith is quickly becoming the premier YA graphic novelist of our day and age, and Friends With Boys is her strongest work to date. It's about homeschooling, public high school, a missing mother, a bunch of crazy brothers...and a ghost.

Anya's Ghost

By Vera Brosgol

Setting the YA comics bar extremely high, this is an expertly written and drawn graphic novel with a spooky edge. Vera is a storyboard artist for Laika Studios (Coraline, ParaNorman), and it shows in every panel.

American Born Chinese

By Gene Luen Yang

A powerful story about the Chinese-American experience, an ancient Chinese fable, and a look at racism in society...all converging into one narrative, and accessible to any reader. ABC was the first (and so far, only!) comic to win the prestigious Printz Award, as well as a National Book Award finalist.

Will & Whit

By Laura Lee Gulledge

Artsy kids, heartbreak, and a hurricane! If you're a fan of Drama in particular, this book would serve as a wonderful companion.

The! Greatest! Of! Marlys!

by Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry's comics were my YA, before YA really even existed. She's been writing teen stories with an incredibly clear voice since the early 80s. This book collects many of the stories about Maryls and her sister Maybonne, and is probably better categorized as being at the young end of YA comics lit. Raw, ugly, hilarious, and poignant.

Please note: I’ve focused on books that I think are appropriate for my target readers, who mostly range between ages 8 and 13. You may be older or younger, but in general my books are considered “middle grade,” and this list focuses on graphic novels within that range. This means I’m leaving out some truly quality suggestions, especially for older readers, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you find good comics for the upper end of young adult, and adult readers.


This essay was originally posted on Inside A Dog. Copyright Raina Telgemeier.

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Raina Telgemeier